Magellan sheep dog

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Ovejero magallánico
Other namesMagellan sheep dog
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Magellan sheep dog (Ovejero magallánico) is a breed of dog that originated in Chile. It was developed to work in sheep-herding activity of the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region in the southern end of Chile.[1] Currently, the Kennel Club of Chile (KCC) works toward the goal that the breed be internationally recognized.[2]


The story of the Ovejero magallánico dates from the late 19th century, when groups of people linked to the management of sheep needed the help and support of specialist dogs. With the passing of the years, these imported dogs, which were probably not of the same type, were crossed with a criterion purely utilitarian, i.e. were selected specimens capable to develop work of grazing, resistant to the harsh climatic conditions of Patagonia.


An inborn instinct for herding sheep, intelligence, submissive and faithful character, and above all a foolproof resistance to extreme cold, snow and long distances to travel, are part of the peculiarities of the Ovejero magallánico.

Among other things, it is one of the few sheepdogs in the world to keep up with carriers on horseback, by more than 30 km. daily, and caring for flocks of 5,000 sheep only between five companions. In the middle of the southern tundra, it is used to eating every three days and almost not drinking water while working, never detaching from the flock, which does not happen with other breeds introduced in recent years, such as the Border Collie, or the Australian Kelpie.

Little known in Chile, the Ovejero magallánico has been in the past 100 years the main tool for farmers in Patagonia, immortalized in the Monumento al Ovejero in Punta Arenas.

Of medium height, about 50 centimeters in height, long hair, square muzzle, and pointed ears, a thick fur able to repel the snow. Although its origins date back to European herding dogs who arrived with the first flocks to the area, it was its power of adaptation to an extreme environment which generated a new phenotype for the Kennel Club to represent a national heritage. The danger that the genetics of this breed is latent, due to uncontrolled crossing.

To certify it, experts want a census to record its lineage and phenotype based on DNA and other measurements, and thus present the "standard" of the breed, which is the description of its physical traits, character and functionality.

To be recognized, this would be the second breed nationally certified. The Chilean Terrier already has that status and it expects to gain the international certification.

According to Eduardo Montoya, of the Commission of Emerging Races of Kennel Club of Chile, the genetics identification and with microchip of at least six inbred families and statistical information gathered in the field are the requirements for "FCI can certify this race as endemic, typical of Chile, and in a second process, as breed internationally recognized to participate in exhibitions".

For Werner Kirschbaum, former Argentine judge for 50 years of the FCI, breeder and specialist in 20 breeds, "Ovejero magallánico (Magellanic sheep dog) is a big dog, made by the environment. It is what counts, would be a shame for Chile to get lost".


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  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2015-08-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Kennel Club de Chile: ovejero magallánico